JUSTICE OR POLITICS?: The Supreme Court takes a controversial stance on campaign financing

supreme court

I suppose it’s a matter of perspective.

But from where I sit, it looks as if the decision made by the Supreme Court regarding extension of maximum contributions to political campaigns by corporations has little to do with “what’s best for the United States of America.”  It looks like a purely political decision, in which wealthy Americans and corporations are given free rein to spend, spend, spend on support of favored candidates…even more than in recent elections.  That’s hard to believe in itself.

We have known for a number of years now that elections in the United States are purchased.  It is not something unique to one party…there have been elections I supported and those I have not supported.  The fact that they were “won” by the big money in this country is offensive on all counts.

This decision removes the maxium barriers which have been in place and says that corporate contributors  can spend as much as they want on a campaign.   Even when they have reached the maximum allowed as direct contributions to a specific candidate, they can spend multiple amounts on PACS which, in turn send the money to the specific candidate when requested to do so.    It’s a sham.

I would like to think that the Justices at the Supreme Court level would be asking the questions about fairness and justice and…mostly…what is important for the furtherance of democracy in this country.   In this case, as in many others recently, it is clear that this is not the highest priority.

Some will say that the long-term benefit of unrestricted freedoms is the larger issue and that we are “winners” for protecting the rights of  corporations (who are believed by some to be “persons”) to make a political statement.  Without interference by the government.

I think that is poppy-cock.  First of all, to define a major, multi-national corporation as a “person” is a huge stretch of a definition.  If it is determined to be a person, by the way, why not tax it like a person?   That is not going to happen.   A corporation is an institution, not a person, and there should be no right for a corporation to exert a personal bias.  This past week it was noted that the Boston Globe took an editorial stance on a situation near and dear to the people of greater Boston.   Its owner, who also happens to own a major sports team in Boston, holds a completely different opinion from the editorial.  But he recognized that he has a personal right to speak his opinion, but that he has no right to demand that “his” corporation express his opinion if it disagrees.  That’s the way it’s supposed to work.  People in charge need to differentiate themselves from the voice of the corporation, whether they agree or disagree.

Secondly, it is clear to anyone watching this election finance mess that the more money poured into the process, the more problems exist.    We do not have a better, cleaner, more efficient election system since the dreaded  Citizens United Act of 2010 opened the Pandora’s Box of corporate finance law.   We watched the recent elections with horror as millions upon millions of corporate money was dumped into campaign coffers.

Now, with this McCutcheon decision by the Supreme Court, the situation has been made even worse.

There is a word that Americans despise:  Oligarchy.  It is a word that defines a governmental system that has been vested in a tiny, select group of powerful people…not in the hands of the common people of the country.   For decades we have been content to define other countries as oligarchies, pointing to their oppression of the common people by the wealthy, powerful minority of that nation.  Now we have become an oligarchy, and there is nothing to be gained by dumping that knowledge under the rug.

The Supreme Court justices (five of them) should hang their heads in shame for their decision on McCutcheon.  It was a seminal moment when the Supreme Court  could have regained its prestige and trust that has been eroding over the past several decades.  They chose, instead, to play into the hands of big money.   Shame on them.


Photo Credit: Argusleader.com

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